NEWTON, Mass. — Senior running back Justin Fuller
(Berkley, Mass.) rushed for 117 yards and three touchdowns and also
caught a TD pass to lead the visiting Bridgewater State University
football team to a 34-25 season-opening victory over non-conference
foe Mount Ida College on a beautiful afternoon in Newton.
BSU freshman quarterback Mike McCarthy (Edgartown, Mass.) also enjoyed a solid individual performance in his first outing at the collegiate level as he rushed for 143 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries. McCarthy went 6-for-13 through the air with his lone TD pass to Fuller.
Mount Ida sophomore quarterback Scott Drosendahl (East Aurora, N.Y.) completed 17 of 23 pass attempts for 235 yards and three touchdown passes. Two of Drosendahl's scoring strikes went to junior wideout Nick Lynch (Hampton Bays, N.Y.) who finished with eight catches for 100 yards. Junior running back Johrone Bunch (Meriden, Conn.) carried the ball 18 times for 77 yards and a touchdown.
After a very tight start to the first quarter, the Mustangs set the pace scoring first on a nine-play, 50-yard drive that was capped off on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Drosendahl to Lynch for the 7-0 advantage with 1:38 to go in the stanza.
On the ensuing possession, the Bears marched down the field on an 11-play, 56-yard drive that finished on Fuller's first score of the day knotting the digits up at 7-7 with 10:24 remaining in the second quarter.
Immediately following the BSU touchdown on the proceeding kick off, The Mustangs tried to lateral the ball to Bunch for some added yards to start the drive. Unfortunately for Mount Ida, Bunch attempted a costly lateral towards the sideline that was ultimately fumbled at the Mustang 32 yard line and recovered by sophomore Derek Pontier (Southfield, Mass.). Although the visitors had outstanding field position, the Mount Ida defense stuffed the Bears forcing a punt.
Two possessions later, Bridgewater State collected the ball on their own 20, driving 80 yards downfield and converting an eight yard touchdown pass from McCarthy to Fuller for the 14-7 advantage following the point after attempt (PAT) with just 12 seconds remaining in the first half.
Mount Ida gained some momentum midway through the third quarter on a six-play, 58-yard drive that ended with Drosendahl hooking up with Lynch for the second time on the day with 5:38 to go in the stanza. Unfortunately some of the excitement was flattened after the Mustangs missed a costly PAT making it 14-13 in favor of the Bears.
On the ensuing Bridgewater State possession, the Bears converted a nine-play, 78-yard drive that finished with Fuller scampering in the end zone on a 13-yard score making it 21-13 with 34 seconds to go in the third stanza.
Mount Ida followed with Bunch's first touchdown of the season punching in a two yard run after an eight-play, 72-yard drive with 11:18 to go in the final quarter. The two point conversion attempt for the tie failed on an incomplete pass by Drosendahl making it 21-19 Bears.
BSU would score on their next two consecutive possessions, the first off an 11-yard run by McCarthy for his first touchdown, and then another on Fuller's fourth overall score for the day to take a commanding 34-19 lead with 3:21 to go in the game. Fuller's score came as a result of a Garrett Dyer (Easthampton, Mass.) interception which gave the Bears outstanding field position at the Mount Ida 16-yard line.
Dyer finished with five tackles (four solo) to go along with his interception. Senior safety John Farroba (North Attleboro, Mass.) paced the Bears with six tackles (five solo) as well as a third quarter interception.
Mount Ida desperately tried to mount a comeback running the hurry-up offense and scoring quickly on a five-play, 61-yard drive. The drive was capped off with a 16 yard TD catch by senior Paul Shaughnessy (Malden, Mass.) which cut the lead to 34-25 after another botched PAT. A failed onside kick attempt solidified the 34-25 Bears victory.
Shaughnessy pitched in with five catches for 61 yards and a TD for the Mustangs while sophomore Matthew Valentini (Lake Hopatcong, N.J.) added two catches for 39 yards.
Bridgewater State (1-0) will host UMass Dartmouth next Saturday at 1:00 PM. That game will take place at Bridgewater-Raynham High School due to Swenson Field construction delays. The Mustangs will get on the road this week to face a another tough New England Football Conference (NEFC) opponent in Plymouth State University with kick-off slated for 1:00 p.m. in Plymouth, New Hampshire.